Barrick Gold to divest two mines to lower net debt by $3bn

18 February 2015 (Last Updated February 18th, 2015 18:30)

Barrick Gold has announced plans to divest its Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea and its Cowal mine in Australia, to reduce its net debt by at least $3bn by year-end.

Porgera Gold Mine

Barrick Gold has announced plans to divest its Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea and its Cowal mine in Australia, to reduce its net debt by at least $3bn by year-end.

The company is also cut the number of staff at its Toronto headquarters by almost half, from the existing 260 positions in 2014 to 140, and expects its corporate administration expense to be about $145m this year.

Barrick Gold estimates that the annual gold production from its existing portfolio will exceed six million ounces (Moz) in 2016 and 2017.

This year, the company plans to complete four prefeasibility studies to advance the growth of projects near its existing mines in Nevada.

"The company plans to complete four prefeasibility studies to advance the growth of projects near its existing mines in Nevada."

In its fourth quarter and full year 2014 results report, Barrick said that investments in new projects will be competed with share buy-backs and acquisitions.

The company's portfolio is expected to deliver a 10% to 15% return on invested capital through the metal price cycle and individual projects are assessed against a hurdle rate of 15%.

Barrick Gold reported a net loss of $2.85bn for the fourth quarter compared with a net loss of $2.83bn for the same period the prevous year.

According to Barrick, total capital expenditures for this year are expected to be $1.90bn to $2.20bn compared with $2.18bn last year.

In 2014, Barrick Gold produced 6.25Moz of gold generating $2.30bn in operating cashflow.


Image: The lower half of the Porgera processing plant. Photo: courtesy of Richard Farbellini.